Multimedia Theater: Neverland like Never Before
Expect the unexpected when sitting down for a Middle School theater production these days. Billed as “Multimedia Theater,” the recent performance of Second Star to the Right took viewers to a Neverland unlike any ever experienced. Written through a collaborative effort of teacher Christa Crewdson and students in her multimedia theater class, the show features instant message chats, green screen special effects, and even a trip to Armando’s Pizza by Captain Hook and his loyal companion Smee.
Based off of the childhood tale Peter Pan, the performance tells the story of Wendy (played by Julia Jacobs ’16), a teenage girl facing the daunting prospect of growing up and letting go of the fantasy land of childhood. This adaptation, however, brings the entire cast into the present day: Wendy is IM’ing with her friend about her parents fighting and not wanting to go to a party when Peter Pan (Dan Levitov ’16) swoops in, Captain Hook (Isaac Levy ’16) decides to hide Peter Pan’s friends at BB&N’s Middle School instead of the Mermaid Lagoon, and the famous crocodile has swallowed a Rolex watch instead of an alarm clock.
Strong acting abounds, but film production and special effects share equal billing to make the performance unique. Roughly half of the play was filmed beforehand using green screen technology and ambient music. This technology allows Wendy and Peter Pan to actually fly, Hook and his pirates to live on a real pirate ship, and provides for many creative backdrops to move the narrative in unexpected and comical ways.
Case in point, check out this clip of Captain Hook’s pirates capturing Peter Pan’s friends to the jarring sounds of a Bjork song:
Or this clip of Captain Hook and Smee trying to order grog at Armando’s Pizza in Cambridge:
Michael Goldfine ’16 handled the video direction, production, and editing using a combination of Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effect, and iMovie. “The filming and editing took about five weeks,” he says. “The hardest part was getting everyone in the background to be quiet for each take.”
The work by Goldfine and the actors paid off, resulting in an innovative and thoroughly entertaining trip from real life, to fantasy, and back.
Click here for a photo gallery.
Click here for a program of cast and crew.